chapter  2
50 Pages

Two A Discussion of the Itinerary of World-Systems Analysis and Its Uncertainties

WithImmanuel Wallerstein, Charles Lemert

Charles Lemert: One question we’ve previously discussed was, how might the elements of world-systems analysis have changed if, say, you had been a student of South Asia instead of Africa? Your response has often been, “Well, if I’d done India, it would have amounted to the same thing; it’d come out of the same place, with India instead of Africa.” But, if I may, I would press the point. In the years leading up to The Modern World-System I (1974), the South Asian situation was vastly different both internally and globally than Africa was. Both broke with colonizing rule (though the African colonies, of course, at different times, later). By, say, 1968 and certainly by 1974, when the first volume of The Modern World-System appeared, India especially was, if not a solid member of the semiperiphery, at least a good candidate. Regarding the former colonies in Africa-especially in the sub-Saharan zone but also in the north, where the colonial arrangements broke very much later-the region was near a pure instance of stateless vulnerability to core exploitation.